Cambridge Biodiversity Internship Scheme Reports 2018

report written on the East Atlantic Flyway Initiative (EAFI) which aims to provide a coherent approach to the conservation of migratory birds across the countries covered. This included comparing the protection statuses, reported by governments and BirdLife partners in the region, of Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in existence due to their importance to migratory birds. Due to leaving on the day of the deadline for sending updated Red List profiles to IUCN, the end of my internship was spent proof-reading species profiles on SIS and instituting any required changes. This internship has been a valuable experience, but not without its downsides. Due to a lack of desks in the office I have spent the majority of the internship either at a desk formerly for receptionists, and receiving jokes asking whether I was one, followed by moving between free desks left by members of staff on holiday. On two occasions we were left to work in a near-empty office as the team had gone on an away day, in one case to BirdFair, a national celebration of birds and their conservation which the interns had been invited to the year before. Despite this, the biodiversity internship scheme offers an incredibly valuable opportunity to experience office life and observe the inner workings of a global conservation organisation, something for which I am thankful.

Alice Stuart – Birdlife International

This summer I undertook an eight-week internship at BirdLife International. A valuable, although at some points trying, experience. BirdLife is a secretariat, a non-governmental organisation consisting of multiple partner organisations from around the world, each of which do relatively local “on-the-ground” conservation in their respective areas, each reporting back to the global headquarters, situated in the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge. As a global organisation, BirdLife is responsible for many things: updating and maintaining the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM for all 11,000 bird species; managing the global database for Key Biodiversity areas; and carrying out, coordinating and collating the results of a number of multinational conservation projects. The partner organisations are each able to work individually, carrying out the research and conservation projects they see as important for The majority of my time as an intern was concerned with improving the integrity of the Red List datasets and profiles. Initially, this included proof-reading the profiles of species covered by species specialist groups (SSGs) to find mistakes such as spelling, grammar and referencing. This acted as a crash-course in the fields used in the Red List and how they were meant to be filled out, as well as the difficulty in maintaining the integrity of a dataset characterised by incremental improvements. Unfortunately, as we did not have access to SIS (Species Information Service), the platform through which edits to the Red List are made, we were unable to institute these changes, instead gathering them in an Excel spreadsheet. As well as this, we began to work through the backlog of magazines and publications which needed to be read through in case they contained new information on a species’ range population size and trend. This provided me with some information I never expected to know, such as all of the major UK twitching events over the past few years – including a Brown-footed Booby found on the UK coast - courtesy of Birdwatch magazine. The majority of our time was spent updating the “Major Threat(s)” text, used in the Red List profile to contextualise threats believed to face the species for seabirds. This provided an opportunity to practice writing a concise and factual text, finding and incorporating information from scientific literature. This also gave an insight into the difficulties faced by BirdLife when updating the Red List, any change in status is preceded by a period of consulting experts through the BirdLife forums, many of which don’t reply, with those that do often opposing the changes proposed. I also had the opportunity to carry out some of the analysis for a birds in their region, receiving funding and guidance from the global headquarters.

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“This internship has been the best kick-starter I could have ever hoped for.”

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Alisa Davies – UNEP-WCMC

I have been wanting to work in conservation since I was a child and when I heard about the WCMC internships, I knew it was exactly what I needed to really get started. My degree has been in psychology and I did not initially know where to begin with applying it to conservation. This internship has been the best kick-starter I could have ever hoped for. During my internship, I was working to support the centre’s Ocean Literacy and Social Science projects. Ocean Literacy refers to a person’s understanding of the ways the ocean affects them, and the ways they affect the ocean. A more Ocean Literate society is better equipped to protect its marine environment. I had two main tasks during my internship. The first was to draft a review of a UNESCO document that proposed a range of

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